Lake Louise State Recreation Area

Lake Louise State Recreation Area

Recreational activities draw in visitors year-round to this magnificent lake

Located west of Glennallen in the Copper Valley, Lake Louise State Recreational Area is a popular year-round playground for Alaskans and visitors alike. The 90-acre recreation area lies at the south end of Lake Louise and, along with adjoining Susitna Lake, extends over 37 square miles. The area is surrounded by four scenic mountain ranges: the Wrangell, Talkeetna, Chugach and Alaska Ranges. This is Alaska's largest lake system that is accessible by road.

History

Near the end of World War II, the U.S. Army established a recreation facility at the lake and built the first road into the area, Lake Louise Road, while building Glenn Highway. After the war, the area was homesteaded and the lake was eventually designated as an official state recreation area. Traces of the WWII era can still be found today on the trails leading up to the dilapidated cabins at the "Army Point" campground, including one that was used by General Dwight D. Eisenhower before he was president.

Ecosystem

Lake Louise is located between four mountain ranges: The Wrangell, Talkeetna, Chugach and Alaska Ranges. There are many small islands at the south end of the lake, most of which have homes built on them. The Lake Louise area has a dry interior climate because high mountains shield the region from moist maritime air masses. Precipitation is only about 10 inches annually. Both Lake Louise and Susitna Lake can be rough and have hidden sandbars in shallow areas. Boaters are cautioned to keep their speed low and be alert in shallow areas.

Wildlife

The two lakes and the surrounding area are home to a variety of wildlife and birds, including the only known freshwater nesting site for cormorants. This nesting site, known as Bird Island, is also a rare inland nesting site for gulls. Other wildlife that may be seen while traveling the large lakes include moose, wolf, bear, fox, sheep, lynx and the annual fall migration of the Nelchina caribou herd. The lake is home to a variety of freshwater fish, including lake trout, whitefish, Arctic grayling and burbot.

Activities

Lake Louise offers great year-round fishing; in the summer, anglers can catch lake trout averaging from eight to 12 pounds, and 20 pounders are caught every year. Other summer activities include camping, boating, birding, hiking, biking and berry picking. In the winter, visitors can ice-fish, ride snowmobiles, cross-country ski, ice-skate and view the northern lights.

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